Colorado defensive back Chidobe Awuzie (4) brings down Washington State running back Jamal Morrow on Nov. 21, 2015, in Pullman, Wash.
Colorado defensive back Chidobe Awuzie (4) brings down Washington State running back Jamal Morrow on Nov. 21, 2015, in Pullman, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
While this season was a disappointment for the Colorado football team, it wasn't all bad. Several players had good seasons on an individual level.

Ask a number of Buff fans for their top 10 players from this season, and we're sure to get a wide variety of answers. For me, though, here's who I think ranked as the 10 best Buffs this season:

1. DB Chidobe Awuzie, Jr. - I don't think there's a question about the best player on this team. Awuzie, who often lined up as nickel back, is one of the best defensive players I saw in the Pac-12 this season. He is CU's best cornerback in coverage. He's also one of their best run stoppers and was often a weapon on blitzes, as he racked up four sacks.

2. WR Nelson Spruce, Sr. - The best statistical receiver in CU history didn't have as great of a year as he had in 2014, but his numbers (89 catches for 1,053 yards and 4 TD) were exceptional this year. On an offense that struggled for much of the year, he was the one true star.

3. SS Tedric Thompson, Jr. - CU's second-best defender and one of its biggest play-makers. Thompson picked off three passes and made a bunch of plays against the run and in coverage.

4. QB Sefo Liufau, Jr. - The most polarizing player on this team, there are some fans who wouldn't put him in the top 20. No question, Liufau did not have the year he had in 2014, but I thought his reduction in turnovers and his added running ability proved valuable this season.


For a guy that had to run for his life half the time, I think he played well. I wish we could have seen him play in front of a healthy, stouter offensive line. We saw his value in the last two games, when he was injured and CU couldn't score.

5. DT Jordan Carrell, Jr. - There's almost nothing flashy about his game, but Carrell had a really solid year in his first season as a Buff. I think he was the best player in the front seven on defense. He made a lot of plays in the run game - whether getting the tackle himself or occupying bodies so that others could make a tackle - and he pressured the quarterback quite a bit. His only sack was a big one, forcing a fumble that Samson Kafovalu returned for a TD against UCLA.

6. DE Derek McCartney, So. - A very good year for McCartney, who battled some injury issues early on. He finished with five sacks and led the team with about 15 quarterback pressures. He's going to get better, but this was a good year for him.

7. LB Rick Gamboa, Fr. - We didn't expect to see so much of Gamboa this year, but when Addison Gillam went down with a knee injury in Week 2, he became a starter. He doesn't have Gillam's side-to-side speed, but Gamboa led the team with 96 tackles. In CU history, only Gillam (with 119 in 2013) had more as a freshman.

8. LB Kenneth Olugbode, Jr. - I think Olugbode is a better player than Gamboa, but I put him slightly lower because he missed a couple games with an injury. When healthy, he was a rock in the middle of the defense. He made 77 tackles and his pick-6 against Colorado State was one of the plays of the year.

9. RB Phillip Lindsay, So. - Lindsay was the best player in a crowded backfield. He finished second to Spruce in all-purpose yards with 1,018 (653 rushing, 211 receiving, 154 on kickoff returns) and first downs earned (39). He led the team in rushing and was third in receptions, with 26. He's the first CU back to gain 600-plus yards and average 4.7 yards per carry since Rodney Stewart in 2008.

10. WR Shay Fields, So. - Until he injured his ankle late in the Arizona game on Oct. 17, Fields was actually on pace to have a better season than Spruce. He didn't do much in the final six weeks, but his play in the first seven lands him here. He was a dynamic play-maker this season, accounting for three of the four longest plays of the season for CU.

Honorable Mention - TE Sean Irwin, Jr.; P Alex Kinney, Fr.; CB Ken Crawley, Sr.; DT Justin Solis, Sr.; LT Stephane Nembot, Sr.; WR/RB Donovan Lee, So.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or